Summer Road Trips You Can Enjoy with the Kids

School is out, the thermometer is creeping up into triple digits, and the kids are getting cabin fever. If the pool lifeguards are getting tired of your kids already and your kids are getting bored with the local children’s museum, ice cream shop, and playground, why not get out of town for a while? Taking a road trip with the kids lets you bask in the pleasure of air conditioning or the breeze of open car windows during the hottest summer days, and it gives the kids a new experience at every stop.

East Coast Boardwalk Excursions

The beaches on the east coast are wide, family-friendly, and fun. Since the kids might get antsy after a few hours in the sun, the boardwalks give the whole family something to do. Some of the boardwalks have arcades, shops, and restaurants along them, while others just provide an avenue for pure family fun.

Virginia Beach

The Virginia Beach boardwalk isn’t made of boards. But it gives you a place to walk—or to rent beach surreys, ride bikes, or simply take a stroll. The street next to the beach gives families plenty to do once the sun goes down. In addition to restaurants and bars, there are street performers and live bands, rides and amusements. Nearby are Seashore State Park, Ocean Breeze Water Park, and the Marine Science Museum. When you’ve had enough of the beach, take the kids to Colonial Williamsburg for a historic experience.

Ocean City

Ocean City, New Jersey, has what Virginia Beach lacks: miles of wood-planked boardwalk along the shore. It’s like a constant carnival on the boardwalk. In between body surfing and building sand castles, kids can play miniature golf, eat cotton candy, or test their skills at an arcade. You don’t have to worry about packing all your gear, either. You can rent everything from beach chairs to boogie boards right on the boardwalk.

Travel Across the USA’s Northern Border

If you really want to get away from the heat, try a road trip across the scenic Minnesota State Highway 61. You can stop and stretch your legs on a wilderness hike and visit one of the Great Lakes. There are so many places to stop that you won’t spend too much time in the car and you’ll keep the kids entertained.

Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world. If that doesn’t impress the kids, maybe the fishing, ship watching, or kayaking will. Start your trip in Duluth, Minnesota, where you can ride the North Shore Scenic Railroad. In Two Harbors, you can watch large ocean-going vessels navigate their way in and out of the bay. You can tour the oldest operating tugboat on the Great Lakes and bike along the waterfront Sonju trail.

State Park Hiking

After that, your trip takes you through the wilderness. You’ll pass eight state parks in just over 100 miles. Gooseberry Falls State Park is a beautiful place to hike to five different waterfalls. Picnic next to the river and show the kids the splendor of nature. You can even camp out under the stars for a truly unforgettable experience.

Grand Marais

The harbor village of Grand Marais is a quaint stop on the lake. Take a walk through a small forest to the lighthouse at Artist’s Point. Other short hikes take you past waterfalls and to a magnetic rock. Kids can look for agates at Paradise Beach or cool off with an ice cream cone at Gunflint’s Mercantile.

Whether you’re looking to beat the heat or just trying to find a new activity to keep the kids busy this summer, a road trip is always exciting. Pack up the car, grab some tunes, and think up some road trip games. When they’re older, the kids will thank you for not subjecting them to another year of summer camp and for taking them on such an entertaining journey.

About the Author

Gabriela Patterson is the mother of four and a content contributor for online car insurance companies, which offer quotes from popular carriers such as Geico car insurance.

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